For most of us, the magnitude of the COVID-19 virus came as a surprise. From its emergence as an unknown illness in central China to front-page news, it has quickly become an international pandemic. Few could have predicted that an infectious disease would bring the world to a standstill by crashing economies, overwhelming healthcare facilities and shuttering businesses with frightening uncertainty in just a few months. Fewer still were prepared to deal with the impact to business continuity.
While we watch the events unfold in real time, the final cost (in lives, dollars and livelihoods) remains unknown. While there is hope for government intervention to limit the damage, we can be certain that many businesses caught without a Business Continuity Plan will never recover.
What is a Business Continuity Planning?
It’s the process involved in creating a system of prevention and recovery from potential threats to a company.
Why should you have one?
It ensures that personnel and assets are protected and can function quickly after a disaster.
What does it entail?
It should identify any and all risks that could affect the company’s operation. Risks such as natural disasters, workplace violence, cyber attacks and national emergencies. Once these potential risks have been identified, the plan should include the following four steps:
- Business Impact Analysis
- Recovery Strategies
- Plan Development
- Testing and Exercises
Business Impact Analysis
This identifies the effects from disruptions of business functions and processes. It also uses information to make decisions about recovery strategies and priorities. Those functions or processes with the highest operational and financial impacts should become priorities for restoration.
Following an incident that disrupts operations, business is impacted and financial loses begin to grow. Recovery strategies are alternate means to restore business operations to a minimum acceptable level. These strategies require resources such as facilities, equipment, personnel, and information technology and identifying alternative measures is essential. Damaged or quarantined operational facilities may need to be relocated, damaged equipment may need to be repaired or replaced, people may need to work remotely with workloads redistributed and lost information will have to be recovered from archives.
Understanding these needs and making preparations prior to an actual event are essential for a speedy recovery. Identifying secondary facilities, command center locations and alternate distribution channels are some of the tasks required as is ensuring remote capabilities and redundancy for both processes and information. These plans shouldn’t be a “one size fits all” solution but should be varied to account for the differences in the specific risk events previously identified. Additionally, the plan should be updated and re-evaluated whenever significant changes in business operations or logistics occur.
Even the most robust and well thought-out plan will fail is doomed to fail if the people needed to implement it have not been properly trained in how to execute when called upon. Taking the time to document policies/procedures and educate staff is critical. Running through various scenarios in a controlled environment helps to identify what works and what needs to be re-evaluated.
As shown with the current crisis, the best time to identify how your business will continue in an emergency is before it occurs. Having a solid Business Continuity Plan in place allows you to be proactive. While you may not be able to predict the next big event, with proactive planning, you can have more control over how it impacts your business.
Contact S3 Integration and leverage our expertise in helping you establish, update or refine your physical security design systems to ensure that your Video Surveillance, Access Control and Mass Notification systems are aligned with your overall Business Continuity Plan. Proper functionality of your Life Safety and Security systems during a time of crisis is essential in maintaining operations and your overall recovery strategies. We will work with you, step by step, to deliver a solution that meets your current and potential future needs. Learn more about our consulting and planning services by clicking https://www.s3integration.com/services/consulting-and-planning/
S3 Integration is OPEN FOR BUSINESS. We are ready and available to support your maintenance and service needs, as well as deploy our professional team as needed to perform installation services for you.
Resources for Business Continuity Planning
- Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs – National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1600
- Professional Practices for Business Continuity Professionals – DRI International (non-profit business continuity education and certification body)
- Continuity Guidance Circular 1, Continuity Guidance for Non-Federal Entities – Federal Emergency Management Agency, CGC 1
- Open for Business® Toolkit – Institute for Business & Home Safety
- https://www.ready.gov/business-impact-analysis Business Impact Analysis
- https://www.ready.gov/risk-assessment Risk Assessment